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Auto blogThu, 26 Sep 2013 16:00:00 EST
The United Auto Workers is in hot water with some of the very workers it is trying to unionize at Volkswagen's Chattanooga assembly plant. According to The Tennessean, eight Volkswagen factory workers have filed complaints against the UAW with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the union "misled or coerced" them into formally asking for union representation.
The UAW has instituted a major push at the Chattanooga plant to represent the 2,500 hourly laborers that build the VW Passat by using what's called a card-check process. The tactic is opposed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense foundation, the group representing the workers. The card-check process demands that a company recognize a union that obtains the signatures of more than half its workforce, according to The Tennessean. This tactic is in contrast to the more traditional route, which sees employees vote on union representation.
The workers filing the complaint claim that the UAW told them the cards merely called for a secret ballot, rather than an outright demand for union representation. Workers also allege that the UAW has made it overly difficult to reclaim their signed cards, some of which were signed so long ago that they have been rendered invalid. Although the cards can force a company's hand, federal law still allows the company to ask for a secret ballot before yielding to unionized workers.
Convertibles make you do funny things. Ask someone if they'd drive a hardtop in near freezing temperatures with all the windows down and they might not even answer, thinking the question so ridiculous. Give that same person a convertible they love and you might just have to ask them to please put the top up even when snow is on the ground.
That guy has to take precautions to enjoy his proclivities, and as this new ad for the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible shows, not everyone understands. Have a watch below, and note that there's just one woman in the minute-long spot, and she's nowhere near the car. Seriously, why didn't VW run this commercial during the Super Bowl?
It's a good time to be in the luxury car business. In Volkswagen Group's financial report for the 2013 fiscal year, it is revealed that that Porsche enjoyed an operating margin of 18 percent. That means the Stuttgart brand made on average about $23,200 per car sold, according to BusinessWeek. Bentley wasn't far behind, and Audi (which was combined with Lamborghini) posted a 10.1 percent margin. This compares to only around 2.9 percent for the Volkswagen brand.
"Luxury brands are on fire," said Dave Sullivan, an industry analyst at AutoPacific. He said that the average profit margin is between six and eight percent. Brands like Porsche and Bentley have the benefit of competing in rarefied markets. Buyers looking at one their vehicles have fewer models to shop against and don't care as much about price. They can also charge more for options, which further boosts income, according to BusinessWeek.
In a way, we should be more impressed by the continued success from Audi. Its models generally have direct competitors in every segment from the other premium automakers. Plus, their buyers aren't the captains of industry who are shopping for a Bentley. Still, the Four Rings is leading rivals in sales so far this year.